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I hate music camp!


Daisy
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Things that drive me crazy about this place...

In masterclasses, teachers seem to be more concerned with showing off their teaching skills than helping the students, who end up standing there trying to cooperate but looking dumb.

The chamber music was devided out badly so I am stuck playing a duo I dislike instead of getting to be in a quartet.

Everyone either doesn`t speak English, or is too snobbish to talk to me.

We`re stuck on a mountain with absolutely nothing to do except practice and slowly go insane.

I feel like I can`t play at all. I have a lot of notes to learn, am trying to figure out a lot of new, weird ideas, and get used to another teacher, whom I`m also going to be studying with in the fall.

I`m stuck here for another 9 days.

So how do I turn this into a good situation, or at least prevent myself from jumping off a cliff in frustration?

At least there`s internet.

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I know how you feel (I was in a similar situation a few weeks ago).. I think the key is to try to make the best of whatever you can that's good. One of the most difficult things about music camp is that you are exposed to so many different ideas about playing in a short ammount of time and you feel as though you have to learn all of them while you're there. The good news is that you are not really expected to completelty revamp your playing in such a short ammount of time, most of the teachers there will never see you again, and so they want to give you all the ideas they have for your playing while they have the chance, they are pushing you to grow but most likely they do not really expect you to change everthing immediatly even if it seems like they do ( I got this bit of info from one of my teachers at my university when he was at the camp I was attending for a week, so it's from one of the pro's). Just try to learn what you can and change what you can in the ammount of time you have, but think more about the ideas you can take away and use/work on as you continue to study during the year.

The chamber music situation doesn't sound great, but see what you can learn about ensemble playing anyway, there is always something to be gained from playing any piece.

Most Importantly Don't let ANYONE destroy your confidence in your musical talent/ability, I don't care how famous/important they are they don't know you or what you are capable of.

best of luck for your last 9 days!

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Hi

It is very privileged to enroll a music camp. I admire young people who have done that.

If I had one summer in a music camp in my younger life then, my playing now would

be so much better.

Since you are already in it, enjoy the best you can. So many never have had the opportuniy.

Smile

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OK. I'll be the idiot.

What, exactly, is a summer music camp?

Is it like boot camp?

I have the impression that it is something that rich parents pay for to get rid of their kids during summer vacation.

You say it is up a mountain so I'm picturing some rather nice log cabins for accommodation surrounded by a wire fence and majestic scenery. You have your own bedroom but there are communal eating facilities and classes are arranged daily with visiting teachers accustomed to dealing with unruly school kids. I'm imagining the average age of the pupils being about 15.

I'm also thinking that attendance at classes is voluntary so there is no motivation to attend them.

Please help a non-American understand what this institution is all about and what you expected to obtain from it.

Glenn

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I don't know where Daisy is going to camp, but most Summer music camps/festivals are not for kids with "rich parents who want to get rid of their kids" although of course some students are there for this reason, I would guess. Music camps are unsually an intensive period (from a about a week up to 9 weeks) of music study.. Camps all have different age ranges, but most overnight camps are for kids somewhere between the ages of 12 or 13 to university/college students and in some cases grad students up to age 24 or so.. Usually all of the students are fairly talented and accomplished musicians and generally quite serious.

A typical schedule would include 3 or more hours daily of ensemble rehearsals/ coachings with facutly members, depending on the camp this will be either chamber or orchestra or a combination of both. Often there will be some required practice time of 2 or more hours. Each student typically has at least a weekly, or sometimes more frequent private lesson with a factulty member on his or her instrument, the instructor can be different each week, or stay the same. Typically there will be some other activity such as a masterclass or factulty or student performance to attend each day also. The faculty at music camps is most often comprised of well-known successful performining artists and/or university/conservatory professors, who are used to teaching very serious committed students.

This is how it has worked at the camps I have attended, other camps I have head of have included things such as theory and aural training/solfege classes, eurythmics, alexander technique classes, etc,... I don't know how well these work attendance wise.

As to the suggestion that she leave it probably isn't possible or she would have done so already, she may have a plane ticket for the end of camp that she cannot afford to waste, or she may not want to abandon her duet partner to 9 days without anything to do, etc.. Plus she probably thought when she signed up that it would be an enjoyable experience (some camps are run better or worse than others, you always take a chance when you go off anywhere).Just my thoughts on the matter/explanation of what tcamp is.

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Glenn,

Music "schools" might be a better term for the more serious "camps."

I don't know where Daisy is, but Meadowmount, for example, has monitored 4 hour per day individual practice (yes, monitored), limited or non-existent airconditioning (in wretchedly humid hot weather), lessons, classes, chamber music practice and coaching, attendance-mandatory concerts, and LOTS of bugs. It is fairly isolated (especially for the under-18 set, who also have a lock-down curfew). I doubt that they have much cell phone reception up there (much less internet)--and there was one phone for the campers to use during "free" time to phone out (but you'd have to wait in line). Master-classes are apparently OK as long as the guest artist doesn't make you or your fellow performers cry or tell you that you have no business playing the violin.

Whether this is a tolerable experience probably depends most upon one's fellow inmates (particularly one's cell-mate). Sharing the experience with some ingenious anti-authoritarian trouble-makers is, I am sure, more fun than doing so with a-socialized, homeschooled nerdlings who may or may not speak English and whose idea of a good time--apart from throwing in a couple extra hours of practice--is busting through a few formulas on a slide rule. (I don't want to sterotype homeschooled music students.... but.... well....um.... yeah...)

My kid loved Meadowmount. But you go there to work.

J.

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Thanks for the advice poppiviola... it can be just overwhelming when I have so much new info and I feel like I`m supposed to use it all RIGHT NOW at the latest! I decided to ignore all the advice during my practicing yesterday and actually got something learned... go figure.

A couple of people will now talk to me so things are looking up, that way.

`Music camp`is a pretty broad term I guess... there`s everything from about 14 years old to 26-27ish. High levels. Very accomplished teachers. Three lessons a week plus masterclasses from various teachers every day that you can go to as you wish, and concerts at night. Its busy.

And all I have to say about quitting and going home is that I came here intending to learn and I jolly well will learn what I can from whoever I can... and if all I learn is how to avoid jumping off a cliff when I`d really like to, that will still be a lesson learned.

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quote:


Originally posted by: crazy jane

Music "schools" might be a better term for the more serious "camps."

quote:


Ditto that. The good ones are essentially summer-term music schools for students who are serious about music. My husband spent several summers at the Aspen Music School, which was (is?) structured very much like Meadowmount. Definitely not the swimming/hiking/stupid crafts "camp" experience that I had as a teen.

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i went to aspen camp one year and it's actually not structured

heavily at all - they are quite liberal.  they are adamant

about the orchestral musicians going to every rehearsal but other

than that they don't seem to care what you do.  i knew a

pianist - who wasn't in orchestra and he basically just spent every

day pracitcing, then he went hiking or walking around downtown.

aspen is a great experience - it's an amazingly beautiful area -

and there's such a wealth of information and influx of

knowledgeable musicians.

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"Sharing the experience with some ingenious anti-authoritarian trouble-makers is, I am sure, more fun than doing so with a-socialized, homeschooled nerdlings who may or may not speak English and whose idea of a good time--apart from throwing in a couple extra hours of practice--is busting through a few formulas on a slide rule. (I don't want to sterotype homeschooled music students.... but.... well....um.... yeah...) "

This is really crazy, Crazy Jane, you need more exposure to homeschoolers. I know a lot of them, many are anti authoritarian troublemakers. Some of them are slow mentally. Some can barely get off chat lines, phone lines, and spend their time arranging outings with friends. Some homeschoolers may be a-socialized nerdlings, but it is destructive. I have heard of similar type complaints about Asian players, too stiff, too precise. From what I have seen these statement generally stem from jealousy over someone's work and accomplishments. Perhaps part of it is that homeschoolers often accomplish far more than their schooled counter parts with less time spent because they might be allowed to work at their own pace rather than waiting until everyone is on the same page.

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Sorry, but I have to jump in on the homeschooling comments also. What indications do you have that this is any different than the rest of the population? There are good kids that are homeschooled, there are bad kids that are homeschooled--just as there are good kids in public schools and bad kids in public schools, good kids in private schools and bad kids in private schools. Lets be a little less hasty to say that you don't want to sterotype, and then proceed to blatantly sterotype (I guess writing that you don't MEAN to is meant to excuse it). I'll just bet that those homeschoolers don't have sliderules either (at least ours have calculators, much like the rest of the general student population)--we have shown them those relics that mom and dad had to use though.

I bet some of those nerdlings who are practicing extra hours probably can't read music either! Oh wait, that is another one of those generalizations that pop up often.

Just for the record, we currently have 2 homeschooled children still at home (plus 2 older children who are college or beyond, and were also homeschooled). They relate well to adults and peers, are well adjusted, are not anti-authoritarian, don't use slide rules, are not constantly on the phone or chat lines, play their violins/violas/piano well (Suzuki, and also taught by mom--I know, that's a double "gasp" for many), work hard at their practice (and their other studies), and know that their ability on their instruments comes from hard work.

As far as Daisey's original problem, I hope you have found a way to benefit from the music camp and the teaching. Perhaps if you are still having challenges with your individual teacher, you need to re-evaluate studing with that individual in the fall--or perhaps evaluate why you are uncomfortable with the "new, weird ideas" that are being presented.

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My generalization is re. a specific subgroup of homeschoolers: those who are being groomed for elite status in whatever field--violin, figure skating, gymnastics--and who are homeschooled to accommodate 6-8 hours a day of practice. (Even Perlman has said he never practiced more than five).

To me, encouraging a kid practice 6-8 hours a day, six days a week (or seven) is tantamount to violation of child labor laws.

I've seen all kinds of homeschooled kids who are homeschooled for all kinds of reasons (I teach in a community college)--love, religion, fear, ego, idealism. As long as the parent has the child's best interest at heart, the parent probably cannot do much harm and often can do much good. Conversely, conventional school education cannot compensate for parental failure (apathy, abuse, or criticism).

My stereotype about kids at elite music camps is neither completely true nor completely false. Kids who have been raised with a 6-8 hour/day practice schedule are going to be affected by the isolation, if nothing else. Sure, maybe the parents have the kids' best interests at heart. But sometimes it really is all about the parent.

J.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
GlennYorkPA

OK. I'll be the idiot.

What, exactly, is a summer music camp?

Glenn

Hi Glenn:

Unlike TRIX, which are for kids, summer music camps can be for adults also. I went to one in Rochester in June (SCOR) that was terrific and am going to one at the Jersey Shore next week (Monmouth String-In). It was great last year.

Like a school, a camp is as good as the instructors and students. It might be more a matter of "fitting in" with the culture and level of a particular camp.

The adult ones are usually about a week long and focus on intermediate amateurs or accomplished musicians who are switching instruments. They get a lot of wind instrument teachers who want to pick up strings - for example.

Back to home schooling and geeks, for a bit --- we have a 15 year old who is attending the John's Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. He is studying genetics for 3 weeks. It is difficult even though he is a very bright straight -A kid. He likes it - and many of the students are bright Asians whose parents are driving them to attend an Ivy League school. I figured out why he likes it. It is just like attending 3 weeks of college, except (maybe) without the drugs and sex. Most of us remember our college days fondly so it shouldn't be surprising that a high schooler would like it.

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Ya jane, it is fun to act up at those places, but I've never met one kid at those camps who'd qualify as a rebel at any regular school, so most of the time, if you're not into the whole practicing thing it can really suck. 99% of musicians these days are incredibly sheltered and immature, few of them know how to have a good time until they reach adulthood.

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so, just in case anyone is curious...

things did improve a lot- I practiced the duo a lot, helped my international-student partner practice her English so we could discuss things a little at rehearsals, and had a very good performance of it. (I still don't like the piece, but hey if I'm going to be professional I'd better get used to pulling off performances of pieces I don't like...)

I decided to take all the new ideas a little less seriously and go back to my old stubborn ways of practicing, which work very well for me actually. Am learning to strike a balance between trying everything everyone suggests and doing what I know works.

And after about a week of persistent efforts to be friendly, people started breaking down and talking to me I'm probably known as the crazy smiley girl with the giant purse but that's alright with me.

And you know, I might even go back next summer, who knows...

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quote:


Originally posted by:
string-along

FINPROF,

I'd love to hear about SCOR. What music did you play? At what level are most are most of the musicians? Do they send you music ahead of time, or must your site reading be well developed?

SCOR is the String Conference at Rochester. It is organized by a young couple who both recently graduated from Eastman and is located at a College just west of Rochester. The itinerary is morning orchestra, morning string quartet, then afternoon group lesson 1 then Masterclass then group playing (fiddle or cello choir). There are two groupings - general and performance so that abilites are kept reasonably equal. In orchestra the general group played an easy Haydn symphony, then Copeland's Hoedown then a Mozart Divertimento then a piece composed by one of the organizers.

The thing that I like about it is that there is a lot of diversity with, for example, four different group lessons on different topics e.g. composing or rhythm or music theory or off-string techniques. The two groupings also helps hold abilities equal so the good people don't get bored and the novices don't get lost.

Last year orchestra was pretty easy - I could sight read it all easily- it was stuff like the Brook Green suite. Hoedown and the Divertimento this year are more difficult, but they are possible if one cheats and plays a single long note instead of the turns, which is what the conductor told us to do if we needed to.

The orchestra music was sent ahead of time. I had a pre-arranged quartet from the previus year and we picked out our own music so we also had that ahead of time.

Hope this help. You can probably google SCOR for more stuff.

Sorry I didn't answer earlier. I was at the Monmouth (NJ) String-In last week.

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